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Un-doing Labour in Greece: Memoranda, Workfare and Eurozone 'Competitiveness'


  • Christos Boukalas Cardiff University Law School
  • Julian Müller



This article examines the assault on the rights, wages and bargaining position of workers in Greece following the bailout agreements between Greece and its creditors – the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the group of Eurozone countries. It focuses in particular on the workfare measures that are designed to activate the industrial reserve army. These measures are enacted in the name of competitiveness, which is defined as reducing unit labour costs, revealing the neo-liberal orientation of the structural adjustment programme to which Greece is being subjected. The article also puts this into the context of the wider conflict over austerity policies in Greece, which came to a head with the election of the left-wing Syriza party in January 2015 and its recent defeat against the country’s creditors. We argue that this result can only be properly understood if the institutional design and inherent selectivities of the Eurozone are taken into account.